Still needs more approval

Southwest Airlines wins the airport war? Mayor Parker to announce international flights at Hobby deal

Southwest Airlines wins the airport war? Mayor Parker to announce international flights at Hobby deal

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Southwest Airlines is getting the right to fly international flights out of Hobby Airport. Photo by Dylan Ashe
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News_Hobby Airport

Houston is on its way to becoming a two international airport city.

Mayor Annise Parker will announce that the city and Southwest Airlines have reached an agreement that will finance an expansion at Hobby Airport, setting the stage for Southwest to fly international flights out of the airport.

The press conference will be held Wednesday morning at Southwest's main ticketing terminal at Hobby. To the victors goes the press conference locale?

Gary Kelly — the chairman, president and CEO of Southwest — will be at Parker's side at the press conference, which figures to be full of pomp and circumstance (anyone care to set the over/under on the number of balloons present?) But despite the sure-to-be giddy scene, United Airlines' fight to keep Houston a one international airport town is not necessarily over.

City Council still needs to approve the financing plan before it can go forward — which involves a $100 million expansion (that vote could come as soon as May 30). There is also the little matter of the FAA giving its go-ahead.

Still, there is no question that this is a huge win for supporters of having international travel out of both Hobby and IAH. And it's looking more and more like, Southwest will be flying international from Houston in the not-so-distant future (2015 to be precise).

KTRK Ch. 13 and the Houston Chronicle first reported the news of Wednesday's impending announcement.